Saturday, September 20, 2014

Demography and Politics in Georgia, U.S.A.

Georgia is changing:
In 1980, Georgia was what Mathew Hauer, a demographer at the University of Georgia, calls “a black-and-white state.” Whites were 72 percent of the population and blacks, 26 percent. Now, Georgia’s population has more than doubled, to nearly 10 million. By last year, the state was 55 percent white, 31 percent black, 9 percent Latino (up from 1 percent in 1980) and nearly 4 percent Asian.

The growth has shifted the population north, to the counties that ring Atlanta, like Gwinnett, a pocket of multiculturalism, where Lawrenceville is the county seat. In nearby Duluth, business leaders embrace diversity as “an asset” in attracting international companies, said Joe Allen, who runs a public-private partnership to promote economic development. “Our motto is: ‘A world of places in one place,’ ” Mr. Allen said.

On Gwinnett’s main thoroughfare, Pleasant Hill Road, a giant Asian market, Assi Plaza, occupies a former Walmar. . . .  Honor boxes carry four different Korean-language newspapers.

Down the road at the Santa Fe Mall, a former outlet center converted into a Hispanic market, retailers sell bright-colored cowboy boots and frilly quinceañera gowns. A Spanish-language radio station broadcasts from here; its Mexican-born general manager, Franco Vera, moved to Georgia from Chicago.
It's not just immigration from Latin America and Asia; Georgia is also getting more black because African Americans are moving in from Mississippi, Alabama, and the Midwest. This all has Democrats sensing possibilities. They are not likely to win this year's statewide races but in a few years we could see Georgia move into the battleground column.

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